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Can You Totally Trust Your Partner?

Morning After Christmas Party

I often receive emails on the topic of trust so I think this might be a good time to talk about it. This is especially so as the Christmas season is upon us and for so many organisations this is also the time of the office Christmas party with potentially lots of alcohol and sometimes a little too much “merry”.

Trust, as defined in the dictionary, is the reliance of one person on another for honesty and sincerity in their relationship. Everything is open for discussion and, as a committed couple there is an expectation that as no subject is taboo then also there is an expectation that both of the couple will say what the truth is for them even when this might be hard to say.

So when we feel we cannot trust our partner, is that saying more about us or is it saying more about them?

My hunch is that maybe it says something about both of you.

Our distrust of another may well be about our own insecurities. While we might say we expect truthfulness from another we actually might find it difficult to be truthful ourselves and consequently not really believe that it is possible to get that from the other.

Alternatively it might be that if I have grown up with dishonesty, either between my parents or from my parents to me, then it is also more likely that I will be unsure about the ability of someone else to be totally truthful in their conversations with me.

The alternative of course is that your partner has already done something which was less than honest leaving you suspicious of their every word and action. If your relationship has come to this then you are in serious danger of losing your relationship unless you do something about it and quickly.

Where these two possibilities might intersect is at the place where, if you already have a distrust of your mate, then they actually might act upon it as they feel that they’re dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t.

What can you do about it?

If you feel that the issue is more about you then go and speak with a professional about it. You might benefit from doing some personal psychotherapy. In this case the therapist may explore some of your early life history to discover the past experience of your distrust.

The process would be similar if you are the one struggling to stay honest. The reason for this might also be discovered in exploring your past.

Once you know where it came from you can then do something about it.

If on the other hand you are married to someone who has behaved in such a way that no longer deserves your trust then you need to talk about it as quickly as possible either with your spouse or with a Couple’s Counsellor.

The Couple’s Counsellor will help both of you in articulating what your concerns are about hearing or telling the truth assisting you to communicate this to each other. This is because it is only in the truth that you will find true happiness and a promise that your relationship really can make it to become a long-term committed relationship.

If you don’t have access to a Counsellor try this exercise:

Make a time with each other to sit and talk. Choose one of you to have the entire stage first. You are “The Speaker”. That means that for whatever time you have chosen you get to speak without interruption other than for the other person clarifying what you are saying or to ask questions to help both of you get as clear a picture as possible about what it is “The Speaker” has chosen to speak about.

The other of you is “The Listener”. Your job is simply to listen. This must be without judgement or response in defence of yourself. That means that the other person can say whatever they want while you remind yourself that this is only their opinion even if you don’t agree with it.

And whatever you do, and whatever it is they say, just keep listening. And when I say listen I mean really listen: with your head, hour heart and your spirit as you just might be surprised at what there is to learn.

Try it one way and then next time you come together it will be the listeners turn to become “The Speaker” and the speakers turn to become “The Listener”.

This is what a real conversation is. As we speak and listen we will come to hear the truth and maybe even rediscover the trust that might have been lost making it once again the glue for a truly healthy, loving relationship.

Remember you were designed with two ears and one mouth for a reason!

So until next time – Relate with Love

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It’s a Hormone Thing

It's a Hormone Thing

Generally men are turned on sexually more easily than women. Men are also turned on more easily by sexual stimuli, including fantasy. And in addition nature also causes a build-up of sexual tension in a healthy male which will seek any means of release. This build-up of sexual tension actually begins again immediately after ejaculation. In the younger man this sexual tension can return quickly but with age it usually takes longer for this to happen.

Men not only turn on faster they can also complete the full sexual response sooner. Ejaculation can occur on penetration or even before. Male orgasm, however, is another matter – that takes longer and requires a man to learn to control ejaculation and to want to explore a fuller involvement of his total self.

Women are turned on more by appropriate conversation and touching within a relationship filled with emotional warmth and love. But, just as for a man, this response, and the accompanying sex drive levels, can vary from woman to woman and from time to time.

These different means of building sexual desire can be one reason why, particularly, a woman’s desire might be blocked if she feels distrust of her partner or anger towards him. This however is not isolated to women, men can also be put off if the conditions aren’t right but generally less so than for women.

While on average the male orgasm is not as strong as in the female, it is none-the-less a part of the experience for some men – those who are willing to take the time to allow the sexual tension to build up, and who love being with their partners, will also love the experience of surrendering to those strong sensations of ecstasy. For these men, the driver is their love for their partner and for the quality of their sex rather than the frequency.

Also men are generally not multi-orgasmic as are many women. Women take longer to reach the peak of excitation where for many, orgasm occurs. After orgasm, many women who remain high on the plateau stage can have second or even more orgasmic experiences if they wish.

There are also many women who have great difficulty achieving orgasm and some who never do, and perhaps never will.

For many women orgasm, however, is not what having sex is about. Rather it is about being emotionally and physically connected to another human being in as close a way as possible.

Some of the things that will influence how responsive a woman is to a man’s sexual approach are the physical environment the couple find themselves in. The environment must be conducive to love-making and all of her senses are employed in deciding this – color, temperature, sounds, aromas and the degree of privacy afforded them so she can feel safe in a place without interruption. The tone of the male voice and how he communicates with her and touches her, as already discussed, will also be a mood maker or breaker.

The lesson here is to ensure that you keep talking to each other about what you like and don’t like during sex and not just during the act but in all aspects of your relationship. For all you men reading this, your lesson is this: don’t be in a hurry to have sex. Give your woman time to feel like sex. When I’m working with a couple I generally suggest to the men that they should allow about twelve hours for a woman to work up to sex, so be super nice to her and she’ll reward you generously.

The lesson for you women reading this is: help your man out. Don’t make it a guessing competition about what you need – let him know exactly what you need to ensure that you will “feel like it” when the time is right.

Most of all for both of you: make it fun. Sex is a form of play – you can’t play when you’re upset or stressed. Get rid of all that and enjoy being together in this very special way with your whole heart, body and mind.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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The Sex-Stress Barometer

The Sex-Stress Barometer

Many people, and maybe reasonably so, use their sexual relationship as a barometer of what is going on in the rest of their relationship. Consequently if the sex is great then some people conclude, though sometimes incorrectly, that the rest of their relationship must also be great. Similarly some people decide that if the sex is not working then nor is the rest of their relationship.

My belief is that even though how you are sexually may be an effective barometer it should never be considered the only way to assess the health of a relationship.

This is because there will be times in everyone’s life, because of stress or other factors, that their libido levels may drop, or even disappear altogether. They may simply be too tired to make sex good for themselves or for another, or their hormone levels are irregular, or even that there is some other physical condition, such as the development of prostate cancer, that prevents the person, physically or emotionally, from being fully present sexually.

These issues should always be considered with care and in the knowledge that with time and support, all of them can be worked through to revive the couple’s sexual relationship. Sometimes we have to just stop trying so hard and know that being intimate with someone is not just about the sexual act, and that it can be equally enjoyable to just be close physically to another, whether this is in bed, in the bath, or just by touching each other in a loving way as you brush past them.

The most important point to note in all of this is that sex should never be allowed to become boring or be used to push someone into something that they do not wish to do.

Therefore, it is important that you regularly explore new ways of connecting with each other, using all of your body and all of your senses, and by enjoying what the exploration of those things can generate for you.

It may also be important to note here as well, that your sexual attraction to another may be linked to your ‘script’. In this regard as your family and community reacts towards sex then this may also become your unconscious instruction and subsequent belief about sex. So if you are born into a family that sees sex as “dirty” or only for the purpose of reproduction then that may affect your belief about sex. Similarly if you have been sexually abused as a child then that may also impact on your belief about sex.

On the other hand if you were raised in a family that believed sex should be freely talked about and practiced, in an appropriate way, then that will also affect how you then respond to sex as you enter into adult relationships.

The most important thing to remember here is that as you grow personally, and start to modify, or even change, your ‘script’ beliefs about sex, it opens for you the possibility of seeing your partner in a new and different light, thereby creating an opportunity for every sexual experience to also be new and different.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Creating Great Conditions for Great Sex

Creating Great Conditions for Great Sex

Great sex is vital to the continuing development of all great relationships and vice-versa; having a great relationship will ensure that the sex is also great.

Men and women often think that sexual responses and satisfaction are reflexes that automatically leap into action once the right buttons are turned on or when the light is switched off.

In truth, sexual response is most likely to occur when we have taken the time to ensure that the ‘conditions’ for sex are just right. These conditions are about what increases our sexual interest and responsiveness.

Maybe I can describe this best by using the analogy of driving a car. When I drive my car, that is; if I want to get to my destination safe, well and happy, I’ll need certain conditions to be present. I do this automatically without thinking about it, most of the time.

For example, I sit in the front seat with my hands on the steering wheel, not in the back seat or in the trunk. I keep my eyes open; I drive on the correct side of the road, not through a muddy paddock or down a cliff. When it is raining I use the wipers, when its dark I switch on the headlights. I put my feet on the pedals, using the brake to stop and the accelerator to go ahead. I use my blinkers and ensure there is petrol and oil in the car and organize a regular service. If I neglect to do any of these things I would not expect to have a good driving experience. These, then, are my conditions for a great driving experience.

Similarly, you all have your own conditions for great sex and they may be different from those of your partner. Consequently, in your relationships, it is important for you to know yourselves well enough to know what those conditions for great sex are. And, just as importantly, you also need to be curious about what conditions make sex great for your partner.

We mostly know our own conditions for great sex because of our past experiences, positive and negative. To ensure we get our conditions for great sex met then, it is essential for us to let our partners know what things really turn us on and what things really turn us off. Some of you would like to believe that your partner should just know this. But guess what? They can’t unless you tell them.

It is important to regularly check this and then, with your partner or on your own, experiment with something that may be new, to see how that might also feel for you. This is what will keep the sex not just great but novel and exciting every time you come together. And of course ditto for your partner. They say; ‘variety is the spice of life’, and in great sex, especially over the many years of a relationship it is absolutely essential.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Are You Thinking of Leaving? Consider These Seven Things

Are You Thinking of Leaving?

Being the one to decide whether or not to leave a relationship can be just as hard as the one being left, and for some even more so. The one being left really has no say in the matter. The one making the decision to leave is the one taking absolute responsibility for what will happen next.

And although you may be very dissatisfied with your relationship or are wondering if you even have any love left, you may feel reluctant to really make the break.  When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time fear of the unknown can stop the most determined of you in your tracks making the decision even more difficult.

Here are a few things to consider before making the final decision to stay or leave.

  1. Do not expect yourself to feel love for your partner when you are feeling resentful.  These two emotions are almost incompatible. Actually part of the process of leaving anyone is that you must feel the resentment and even anger otherwise you probably wouldn’t consider going at all.
  2. Do not let anyone pressure you into a decision. Imagine yourself living with your partner on even days and living apart on odd days to see if you can get a really good idea for how it’s really going to be like to be separate from each other.
  3. Discover how you allow yourself to be a victim by talking to friends or a therapist.  You will not stop feeling resentful until you stop giving up your power. Tormenting yourself over whether or not to continue the relationship may interfere with looking at the changes you need to make in yourself.
  4. If the decision is too hard for now take some time first to focus in on yourself and figure out what there is to learn about relationships that you may have missed that put you in this predicament in the first place.  Identify one change to start with that you are going to make in yourself for the better.  Make this change consistently until you sense that you are no longer acting like a victim.
  5. Only when you have learned your own lessons and made some changes in yourself make your decision.  Don’t be hurried into it either by yourself or by others. The years you spent together deserve that much thought. This will give you a much better sense of what you need to do. And of course don’t be surprised that in the meanwhile your partner may make your decision for you as they are going through their own process and challenges.
  6. If there are problems with physical or substance abuse, a separation may be needed to save the marriage or to save that person from their habit.  Often, people stay in such relationships until they have no love left.  It is better to recognise problems early and insist on living separately until the other person has sought help. Promises to get help should be ignored until the person takes action and makes significant changes.
  7. Whatever the decision you make about your future it must be viewed from the perspective that it took the two of you to get you to this place so each of you must take responsibility for your part in it. Only when you accept responsibility and do your own therapy around that can you really make a good decision for yours and your partner’s future together.

And let me add one more that is probably even more important than the ones above.

Do not leave one relationship on the promise of another.

These relationships rarely survive as until the lessons are learned from the previous relationship the likelihood of coming back to exactly the same place is actually fairly high. That’s why they call them “rebound” relationships.

Oh and don’t count on a new partner to take away any underlying insecurity you might have. That is why new relationships, gone into too soon after the last one ended, can be fraught with danger and are likely to end you up in exactly the same place.

Learn what there is to learn about yourself, others, life and loving and then, if your love is still there, renew your commitment to this relationship. If however the time is right for you to move on then do so without regret, without resentment, without anger but with love and gratitude for the time you have had with each other and all that you have learned and experienced together.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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True Love, Lies and Deceit

True Love Lies and Deceit

Is it possible for someone to truly love you and hurt you over and over with lies and deceit?

What a great question this is to get me going for the week

The short answer is this:  NO! Someone cannot truly love you and hurt you over and over with lies and deceit. But it may be a little more complicated than that.

Lying and deceitfulness can be a natural response to being constantly tormented, fear of being found out, or from the modelling we get from the most important people around us, generally our parents.

There are also gradients of lies. There are the lies of omission when we don’t tell someone that what they are wearing doesn’t go with whatever, their body shape, the occasion etc.

On the other end of the continuum are the really big lies that have a huge impact on people’s lives, individuals or whole countries, which can and do change the course of history.

My curiosity is pricked when I hear that someone is being deceitful in their relationship. Is this a cold-hearted act of cruelty with no regard for the impact the lie has on another or is it something much more than that?

My belief is that lying is a complex issue that really needs to be viewed not just in the context of the current event but in the context of a whole lifetime of experience.

When we are very young we learn to tell lies as part of socialising us to the norms of society. So we are taught to hold our tongues when we get crushed under the hug of our big, fat aunties and respectfully say ‘thank you’ for the gift that we really didn’t want. We also learn in the process that lying can protect us from being punished, sometimes in very, even too harsh ways. Lying can even become habitual as a way of avoiding the anger of someone in a position of authority over us as well as a means of avoiding the feelings of fear that can go with that.

As an adult we normally grow out of this behaviour as we meet with other adults face to face, in truth and in good will, to manage our conflicts in an adult way no longer needing to resort to old patterns of behaviour. Sometimes however old behaviours are so entrenched that the habit has become hard to shift. Alternatively the person is triggered to feel the same sort of fear they experienced as a child and respond from an internal child part of themselves rather than an external adult part.

In these situations the lies and deceit are not intended to hurt but become the habitual response of someone who doesn’t yet have the skills to manage themselves in a more mature way.

So to come back to the question at the beginning of this article

Love is a mature adult feeling that is pure and clean with no unresolved issues attached to it. So to truly love another implies that you are fully there with this person in the most vulnerable way possible. This means that your heart, soul and body are open and exposed without any defences. So to put it more simply, love and lying simply cannot be present in the same moment.

While we are humans, and we will slip up, for us to be truly in love with another requires us also to be truly honest. If we cannot be truly honest then we can’t possibly truly love because instead of being there fully in the present we are being held back by something from our past that will need resolution.

So if you are being lied to and hurt constantly by your partner and they are unable, or unwilling, to do what it takes to change then you really do need to think about the long-term viability of your relationship.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Reasons Why Women Cheat

Why Women Cheat

 

Recently I was surprised to hear news of increasing number of websites promoting affairs. So it maybe a bit of a surprise to hear that men are not the only ones who cheat on their partners.  It is becoming more and more common for women to be guilty of cheating.

And while years ago a woman cheating on her spouse was unheard of more recently the number of women who enter into affairs and cheat on their spouse is growing exponentially.

However while women may be cheating as often as men, the reasons why women cheat are very different to the reasons why men cheat.

Men Cheat for Physical Reasons and Women for Emotional Reasons

Research is showing us that the principle difference between men and women cheating are that men often cheat for physical reasons while women often have emotional reasons for cheating on their partner.

The reasons why women cheat include loneliness, revenge, and boredom or as an attempt to raise their self-esteem.

A partner who becomes excessively involved with his work or some pastime may no longer make time to spend with his partner. This often results in the woman feeling as if she is all alone. So if a woman is not receiving the attention she feels she deserves in a relationship, she may be tempted to seek that attention elsewhere and become involved in an affair.

Loneliness has amazingly become one of the primary reasons that women seek out affairs and cheat on their partner. Although it sounds contradictory that they should feel lonely while being in a relationship, it is because that relationship has simply become emotionally unfulfilling.

Revenge has also become a growing factor in why women cheat. The modern woman is no longer willing to sit back and accept the fact that their partner may cheat on them. If a woman confirms or even just holds a suspicion that her partner is cheating on her, she may be driven to engage in an affair of her own as an act of revenge.

An Eye for an Eye

They may be extremely hurt by their partner’s actions and seek a way to hurt them in the same way.

Boredom may also factor into why women cheat. Their current relationship may have fallen into a rut and lost the excitement that it possessed in the early stages of its existence. They may feel that their relationship has become dull and predictable so rather than trying to bring excitement into their current relationship they may pursue affairs in the hopes of rediscovering the excitement they felt when they first became involved with their partner.

While an affair may bring about a temporary solution of making the woman feel excited about love again it may ultimately destroy both their current relationship as well as their cheating relationship.

An affair is exciting not only because it involves a relationship with a new person but also because it involves sneaking around and ultimately getting away with doing something wrong.

To many women this is very exciting and they are willing to risk losing their relationship over the affair.

Another reason why women cheat is a lack of self-esteem. Women may feel that they are not getting an adequate amount of attention from their partner and they may be tempted to cheat to confirm that they are still attractive and desirable.

Being found desirable by another compensates for the lack of appreciation they feel from their partner which helps to boost their self-esteem. While women with a healthy self-esteem are more likely to remain happy in a relationship, and do what needs to be done to find it, those who lack self-esteem may be more driven to cheat on their partners.

So if you are finding yourself lonely, bored or feeling like your self-esteem is failing you think twice before embarking on an affair. Maybe there is a better way out. This might be to seek some counselling and then to find a way to confront your partner about what it is you’re experiencing.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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